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Dealers face stocking crisis as used car availability reaches all-time low

 Franchised car dealers and car supermarkets have been forced to source an older age profile of used cars, after the availability of nearly-new vehicles rapidly diminished in the run-up to summer, reports

In addition, there is little prospect of an improvement in supply – in fact, dealers will have to work harder to ensure that already-depleted stocks do not diminish further.

Since the third quarter of 2008 the very depressed new-car market has seen fewer cars registered – particularly as short-term rental vehicles and dealer demonstrators – leading to an all-time low in the supply of younger cars for sale.

Since the beginning of the year there has been a steady reduction in manufacturer and rental company inventories to the point that there are not enough cars to meet trade demand.

Adrian Rushmore, managing editor of , who will be providing a detailed overview of the future of the market at the AM Used Car Conference, said: "Prices for the limited number of late-plate used cars for sale have climbed by up to 25% so far this year.

"The growing concern for dealers is that consumers will not accept the transfer of these higher trade prices to retail asking prices. In order to maintain turnover, many dealers are now accepting slightly shorter margins to ensure ongoing business.

"The trend has been repeated in the market for older second-hand cars, where similarly limited supply has driven up prices."

Rushmore said: "Dealers are turning to older vehicles as the only means of maintaining a suitable level of stock.

"The severe reduction in new car sales has generated fewer part-exchanges, and many franchised dealers have expressed more of an interest in purchasing cars from general auction sales than at any time in the past.”

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